17:44 Apr. 20, 2016
Valentina Matviyenko insists the discussion on the legal exchange formula is in process
Russia's Council speaker Valentina Matviyenko says Moscow may soon exchange Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko for the two Russian servicemen, Aleksandr Aleksandrov, and Yevgeniy Yerofeyev, convicted in Ukraine.
According to Matviyenko, political will is the only key to the bilateral swap, and Russia allegedly has such a will. So Matviyenko says, the discussion is currently underway.
As UNIAN reported, on April 18th Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko informed that he and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin elaborated on a proper mechanism for Savchenko's release and return to Ukraine. The next day Poroshenko called the captured Ukrainian pilot personally and asked to stop the hunger strike.
Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko was kidnapped by Russian-backed separatist forces in 2014 and forcibly transferred to Russia where she was accused of killing two Russian journalists and illegally crossing the border with Russia. After nearly two-years on trial, Savchenko was convicted and sentenced to 22 years behind bars and a 1, 000 U.S. dollar fine.
Shortly after the sentence had been announced Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko stated his readiness to exchange Nadiya Savchenko for the two Russian servicemen captured in Luhansk region in May 2015. On April 18th, both men were convicted of conducting aggressive war and participating in terrorist organizations, and sentenced to 14 years in prison and asset seizure.